Despite being sapped by a nasty flu for much of the last week, the American beat Lucie Safarova 6-3 6-7 (2) 6-2 to win the French Open on Saturday and claim a landmark 20th major.
“It seems a little bit like a dream,” Williams told reporters. “Like, is this really my life? Is this really happening right now? So yeah, it’s really kind of weird.”
But as the score suggested, this was no walk in the Bois de Boulogne — a park close to Roland Garros — for Williams against the Czech. The way the tournament unfolded for the 33-year-old, perhaps it should have been expected.
Williams did the almost unthinkable by blowing a 4-1 advantage in the second set and trailed 2-0 in the third.
She recovered, to no one’s surprise, and now only Graf has more majors in the Open Era at 22. With Williams going strong in her early 30s, Graf’s record is under serious threat.
The world No. 1 even has a realistic chance of matching the German in 2015, since she’s claimed five Wimbledon titles and is the three-time defending champion at the U.S. Open.
Of course that would mean Williams winning all four majors in a season, something not accomplished since Graf did it in 1988.
But who’d rule her out?
Not her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou.
“I think it’s the most difficult thing to do in tennis,” Mouratoglou told reporters. “That’s why it doesn’t happen often. But as she won the first two, why not believe it’s possible? And second, with her, everything is possible.”
By winning in Melbourne and Paris, Williams already became the first player since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to claim the first two grand slams in the same season.
Novak Djokovic, like Williams a world No. 1 and the champion at the Australian Open, plays in Sunday’s men’s final against Stan Wawrinka. Djokovic completed a semifinal win over Andy Murray earlier Saturday, 6-3 6-3 5-7 5-7 6-1.
If he triumphs, then Djokovic becomes the eighth man in history to win all four majors.
But Saturday belonged to Williams, even if she wasn’t in the mood to do much partying.
“I just want to go to bed,” she said.
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